Thursday, October 23, 2008

Special Needs Guide to Tech Products






Go to the Technology & Learning website to read about the latest software and hardware that can aid educators in both classroom instruction and assessment for any sort of learning challenge http://www.techlearning.com/showArticle.php?articleID=196605474 . This article will be helpful when integrating adaptive and assistive technology tools into planning for instruction in inclusive classrooms. What tools do you think you would use and how would you integrate them into your lesson plans and unit plans?

229 comments:

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Anonymous said...

A very resourceful article especially for special education teachers. It summarized useful websites for software and hardware for instruction and assessment of students with disabilities. Learning can be a challege to such students, however, there are many useful tools out there schools should consider purchasing. Even though I am not a special education teacher, I need to know how assistive technology works. The article is informative. I was amazed on how much there is available. As I read the article I thought about how and which products would assist students in a foreign languague classroom. Students should use technolgy that is practical and easy to use in the classroom and at home. I discovered there were several good products out such as the portable word processor, the Autism software with lesson plan ideas, the boardmaker for learning vocabulary, GoTalk is also portable and easy to use for communicating. Another great product is the Text-to-speech. I believe, in the end general education teachers with the special education teacher need to assess how these products help the students to learn.

K. Weiser said...

Integrating technology in the classroom is very interesting and useful website that provides the detail of many different assistant technologies for special need students. The article is not only provide the the name of the tools that can use for each special need students but also giving the relative article for the viewer in order to search for more detail in each topic. Even though, I am not a special Ed teacher, but having the information about these assistant technologies might be benefit my students as well. Aural Problem technologies is one of the tools that I will be able to use, adapt in order to create math lesson plan for my students. I agree with the article that students who are taught to read in an audio-rich environment better develop literacy skills. Sounds systems can be use in order to help my student with multiplication fact. Students will hearing impairments about word problems stories in order to help them capture the attention of the stories.

jessica m. said...

It was nice to read that between the 03-04 and 04-05 school years the percentage of students with disabilities spending 80 percent or more of the school day in a general classroom increased from 50 to 52 percent. This is showing that students are in the least restrictive environment. I believe it is the various assistive technology inventions that are being utilized in the classroom that is making this possible. There are many tools that special education and regular education can utilize together. For example, one teacher in the school I work at uses a microphone and I didn’t know what it was called. In reading this article I believe it is a personal FM listening system which transmits a speaker's voice directly to the user's ear. I enjoyed reading the related articles that provide detailed information about the assistive technologies. There are various technologies that I became more aware of in reading this article.

jessica m. said...

Thinking more about this article it seems like these technologies could benefit a variety of students, even those that may not necessarily be diagnosed with a disability. Many students still may struggle to read at grade level and with multiplication facts. These technologies discuss different ways to help with the two previous examples. Overall, I think in the future the mainstream classrooms will continue to grow due to the newly improved technologies for students. I look forward to seeing what other technologies will be utilized in classrooms in the future.

Colleen said...

This is a very good website for teachers to use to find resources for students. Some students may need assisted technologies to assist them in succeeding in school. It the child is in the least restricted environment, maybe one of the assisted technologies can allow the student to more to another classroom. I think this website is a good source for teachers to refer to in order to assist students.

maria said...

This is a very useful website that teachers could use as a resource each year to see what technologies could be integrated into their classroom and meet the needs of their students. The list of tools is easy to navigate and hits on a variety of challenges students may have in the classroom. Teachers could use this website to research what is available for their student and then get instructions on exactly how to use them. That's great! I was impressed by this site and think it is something that I could use in the future for some of my current students.

Michael Funch said...

This was an excellent article and an awesome webiste. Many of the students I work with use assistive technologies and the suggestions and links on the website will definately help me in teaching my students and helping them to recieve the best learning possible. I love how it broke down different categories of developmental problems and then gave possible solutions to each one. I can definately picture myself trying to use many if not all of the assistive devices listed on the website. Each has its own upside and the possibilities are endless.

Michael F

Joanna said...

I never realized how much adaptive and assistive technology there is out there. I knew there was some but this article really broke it down and explained a great deal of them. I think that this article was very interesting and informative. It is important as an educator to be aware of the tools out there to aid in the classroom specifically for children with disabilities. Now with inclusion it is more important than ever. Teachers need to be aware so that they can implement the use of these tools in the classroom. I think that this is a very useful article for all teachers whether they teach special needs students or not. I would implement the use of such tools in my classroom if the need arose.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Michael. I too love how the article broke down the different categories of learning disabilities and then categorized possible adaptive solutions. I work with a group of students who struggle with a wide range of various disabilities and some of these devices would be of great assistance to them. I also know students without learning disabilities who struggle with reading at grade level or staying focused on the task at hand. The technologies mentioned in the article can be used to assist those with special needs and enhance those without.
~Shikema B.

Joanna said...

I agree with Michael in that I will use these tools throughout my teaching career. I also agree in that I liked the way they broke it down. It was alot easier to see the problem and the technology used. It made it easier to make the connection and then be able to apply it in the classroom.

Joanna said...

I agree with Kanyarat that even though I am not a special education teacher some of the tools listed will help in my teaching career. It is true too that students who are in a literature rich environment specifically with audio tapes and such, will learn to read. That is a great tool that I could use in my second grade classroom currently. I have students who have difficulty reading so I may try to implement the use of an audio rich environment. It may work!

melodyinwords said...

Smart board is great to accommodate visual/audio learners. For audio learns, the teacher could also provide a prerecorded instructions with cassette players, so the students could review them when needed. Podcast is a good way to assess students with writing disabilities. Creating a power point for a field trip or design a brochure using Microsoft publisher will be a fun way to assess the students.
-Jenny

Anonymous said...

There was tons of information at my fingertips from these articles. Having been an aide in a self contained classroom, I can see how we can intergrate so much more into our own classroom. I agree Jessica and Colleen both and it will be a great reference to keep in mind to turn for very useful information. I am not surprised to see the increase from 50-52 percent and yes it is that we are trying to make the envirnoment least restrictive for the students

Katie

Anonymous said...

A very resourceful article especially for special education teachers. It summarized useful websites for software and hardware for instruction and assessment of students with disabilities. Learning can be a challege to such students, however, there are many useful tools out there schools should consider purchasing. Even though I am not a special education teacher, I need to know how assistive technology works. The article is informative. I was amazed on how much there is available. As I read the article I thought about how and which products would assist students in a foreign languague classroom. Students should use technolgy that is practical and easy to use in the classroom and at home. I discovered there were several good products out such as the portable word processor, the Autism software with lesson plan ideas, the boardmaker for learning vocabulary, GoTalk is also portable and easy to use for communicating. Another great product is the Text-to-speech. I believe, in the end general education teachers with the special education teacher need to assess how these products help the students to learn. Patrica A.

adolescentscience said...

The technological resopurces presented in this article could very well be the equalizer for special needs students. Difficulties in reading and/or writing can be overcome, for most practical purposes, with the available technologies.

From a personal perspective, I have a son with significant fine motor difficulties...while he has phenomenal ideas, putting those ideas on paper is a real challenge for him. The technology of Dragon Naturally Speaking voice to text software enables him to put his thoughts into words without struggling through the handwriting piece of it.

In all, technology can change the lives of diabled students, regardless of their specific disability.

-Shannon Kane

Jennifer P said...

This is a wonderful resource for all educators to take an advantage of, epecially special education teachers. Although I am not a special education teacher, this article is just as valuable, because it lists all the available assistive technologies that will allow me to meet the needs of my students with disabilities. It seems that the major issue with many of these devices and programs is the cost. However, the links associated with many of these devices indicate how many of them are inexpensive yet, effective in including the students with disabilities into the mainstream, general education classroom. For example, tools such as IntelliTools and Kurzweil can help students with learning disabilities, espcially in reading and writing. The article made me realize how negligent we as educators have been to the students with disabilities, despite all the assistive technologies that are available to help students learn. These technologies cannot erase students' disabilities, but they will definitely help them to learn the lesson more efficiently. Therefore, it is the responsibility of teachers to advocate for these devices and programs to be integrated into the classrooms. To students with disabilities, integrating technology into the classroom might be the only way that they learn.

Anonymous said...

The tools I would use are Boardmaker Plus – I would use this tool to make learning for my children easy, fun and interactive. I think the best way for a child to learn is to provide them with something different and enjoyable. I would use this when assigning them to reading a book. Rather then having them answer questions I would use this as an interactive way to show me they have read and understood the book. Another tool I would be interested in using is The Go Talk Pocket- This tool would be helpful because it will keep kids that are having trouble socializing feeling isolated and left out. I would use this during any group activity when I pair people with kids they normally don’t socialize with. Lastly, the Co: Writer: This tool would be helpful for kids that have trouble writing and might be embarrassed to read there responses out load. For every written assignment in class I would make sure the kids had access to this program before I asked them to share there thought s on a certain topic.

-CHRISTINA TRESCA

Bobby DeBonis said...

This website is great. It gives so many different products for helping to teach students with special needs. Eventhough I'm not a special education major, I am sure that I will have students who have special needs in my classroom and will have to teach them equally as well. Having a peice of equipment that could help me perform better is a great assect this site gives so many examples, its great.

Anonymous said...

This is a very informative article.I never knew that there are so many assistive technologies available.It will be imensely helpful in an inclusive classroom. Go Talk is easy to use and also portable. Students can take it home and work on it. Text To speak is also a great product. Both general education as well as special education teacher should integrate technology in their lesson plans.
Iffat

Anonymous said...

As a student teacher I am able to see each and every day how more and more special education students are being mainstreamed into general education classrooms. This blog is great for both general ed teachers and special ed teachers. It allows us to see all of the options that we have to meet the needs of each and every student. I agree tremendously when it stated that some of these technologies not only help with specific needs such as hearing, but they also help to get and hold the attention of all students. The classroom that I am in now has a loudspeaker and a headset that the teacher uses and it is amazing how much more the students pay attention.
-Caitlin

Anonymous said...

I never realized the extensive diversity of assistive technology. How to choose the right devices for students must be a daunting task, choosing products that will be sturdy, serve an array of students, stay relevant, can be reused, and can be serviced and upgraded inexpensively are just a few of the concerns that must be addressed when purchasing these products. I am only familiar with Smartboard Technology in the classroom, while they are great tools, problems always arise- I see that Intellitools has one solution in the way of a wireless box for interactive use for physically challenged students – I didn’t see the cost let’s hope it’s not prohibitive. I read an article in another Molloy class I took recently that advocated assistive technology for all. While I made a comment that it seemed like pie in the sky-the teacher had a “what if” attitude-I had to agree it would be great-if we could afford it! K.Morrison

Anonymous said...

This was a very informative article on assistive technology. I had no idea that there were so many different types of technology that were adaptive to all of the different types of disabilities that exist! I agree with Bobby in that, (teaching Spanish) I do not come across very many students with disabilities because the majority of these students are exempt from a foreign language. But if I were to need a form of assistive technology, I would completely use this page as a resource in order to make myself more aware of the technology available to help these types of students.
Kim C.

Anonymous said...

This article is a great start to learn about assistive devices. It serves as a starting point to researching all the different types of technology there are. Without a doubt, the article clued me in to the myriad options for adaptations that I did not know were there before. I agree with Caitlin. She mentions that many special educations students are being mainstreamed so they can reach their maximum potential. Even though I am not a Special Education teacher, being aware of these options will make me better prepared to adapt for the special needs students that I know will be in my class. Katherine Dalton

Anonymous said...

Assistive technology is an important tool to support those students who have special needs. There should be no reason why a special needs student should not have access to the same information as a general education student. Technology provides these students access to all information through different methods. It is amazing to know that there is more assistive technology available to educators to use in their classroom. The most challenging part of using assistive technology is getting the funding for the different resources needed in order to use these technologies fully.
KBoodram

Anonymous said...

I just bookmarked this article! This is a great page for reference as to whats out there for use with students with special needs. I think everyone needs to become familiar with these technologies not just special educators.
I like that the article broke down the different technologies by catagory and provided links to additional sources.
Theresa S.

Anonymous said...

After reading this article, I am blown away by the increasing number of students with disabilities in the classroom today. It has become evident that incorporating adaptive and assistive technology into the classroom is a necessity. I am also impressed by the amount of technological resources available to help students with various disabilities. I think this web site would be a great resource for teachers to reference when they are searching for technologies to help students with disabilities in their class. Going forward, I would make it a habit of playing music in the classroom, while students are reading, something which would benefit all students. I thought it was so interesting that audio-rich environments help develop literacy skills. I would use alternative keyboards with larger keys or even virtual keyboards that can be used hands-free. I also thought that the Broadmaker software and the Express ONE was a great tool that I would be able to use in my classroom. Depending on the needs of the students in my class, I would reference this web site if I needed something more specific. --Colleen Corrigan

Anonymous said...

Students with high-incident disabilities have speech or language disabilities, or mild intellectual disabilities who can benefit from systematic, explicit, highly structured instructional interventions such as the ones discussed in the article. Having these types of assistive technology interventions in place will help them meet the same standards as their calssmates without disabilities.
martha D.

SteveZegers said...

I think this is one question that I can't really answer until until I know exactly what the needs of my students are. For example, one of the students in the class I observed in wore an FM unit, not for hearing loss, but for focus. He didn't even start using the device until the end of may, so I quess it will be a little while until they start to see some results.

As for which other items to use, the real answer is, any and all I can get my hands on. Most kids love gadgets, so using them is almost like a way of providing extra help in a way that they will enjoy. The computer itself is a great example. Kids love using it, even for educational purposes.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Steve that I am not sure what tools I will use, as I do not know which ones will benefit my students the best. Overall, I felt that each tool can be a great addition to any classroom. I wanted to use the word "addition" because I feel that the biggest issue is the teacher. The teacher needs to be well educated to use these tech products properly, they need to know how to work with special needs children and how to handle a diverse class population. Once the teacher is knowledgable in all fields; then the students will truly benefit from the use of the tech products. Another issue to think of is funding, how expensive are these products and do many schools implement them? I do not want to sound negative, however we need to think practical in regards to how we can set up our classrooms. Overall great article on how technology can help special need students in their own educational journey.

-Matt Fuentes

Anonymous said...

This article reaffirms what I have learned throughout my graduate work. Using adaptations,especially technological ones, have been used with a great deal of effectiveness in the classroom when instructing students with special needs. The article lists many impressive items. I have seen a few of the products featured in the article,including the Jaws for Windows, which provides a screen for the vision impaired. Alternative keyboards,various communication devices, videoconferencing, and the Express One message talker are among the many devices which effectively aid the learner. The decision to utilize the portable word processor, gives rise to the debate over handwriting. If the student cannot write and needs assistance, it is useful to help aid the learner. However, technology should not replace a skill, if that skill can be learned and if it is necessary for the student's future success. Another note worth mentioning -- A recent article in ESchool News cited current statistics that suggest students seem to learn better in a blended learning environment--with online research and traditional classroom teaching...Interesting!
Sue D.

Anonymous said...

This is a great article to learn about some of the assistive technology that is accessible to educators. I think it is wonderful that there are so many technological devices that are now available to aid students with special needs. My niece is handicapped and she benefits from many of these advances, such as a communication board. I do however, agree with Matt that we have to consider how much funding is actually available to implement them into the classrooms. It would be great if we could have many of these devices at our disposal but realistically I don't see it happening. Many of these devices are more commonly offered at specialized schools. Obviously for a student to fully benefit from these devices, the teacher needs to be knowledgeable of them, and comfortable using them. I also agree with Steve in regards to not knowing which ones would be useful until you know the specific needs of your students.

Christine G.

Anonymous said...

I am really in awe of all the different types of technology that can help students with disabilities. I did have the opportunity to see how some of these devices work during the last school year. One seventh-grader who is deaf and has a cochlear implant was aided by his teachers wearing an FM transmitter to amplify their voices. The school's remedial reading program uses software that includes text-to-speech applications to help students with their pronunciation. The students can also record their own voices as they read passages, which helps the teacher determine if the students' fluency is improving. I have also seen students using the Alphasmart word processor to take notes. While I have not had many interactions with students on the autism spectrum or who have more severe disabilities, I would like to learn how to use some of the communication aids that were highlighted in the article. It may happen that some of these technologies could also help students with learning disabilities.

Jeanne S.

Anonymous said...

I certainly agree with Steve about how much students enjoy using computers. The students who were placed in the reading remediation program that I mentioned were very ashamed at the beginning of the year that they had to be part of this class. Over time, though, they came to enjoy it much more since part of their daily routine included work on the computer.

Jeanne S.

Anonymous said...

A number of these technologies would be unlikely to be used at the high school level. However, there are many benefits to understanding the importance and role of new technologies that support learning in the classroom. Auditory technology, portable keypads, writing programs, and particularly the assessment tools that are used by special needs students are very important in any classroom. I love data that shows that having these technologies improves learning for all students. I have to be honest and admit that I have not had much experience with these new technologies. To be a more effective in the classroom, all teachers should be exposed and educated about new technologies.

Anonymous said...

I also believe that students who are not using the technology should be taught about it to limit curiosity and increase understanding.
-Megan Rut

Anonymous said...

As a 7th grade mathematics teacher, I have noticed that I have many special education students. I have taught for two years, and I have not needed to determine whether or not an electronic device helps students learn or not. As a general education teacher I do not focus on this aspect of learning yet. I basically focus on technology devices that I could use in my classroom for all my students. As I am getting my degree in special education, I know that I should be aware of more of these devices. Also, since I teach at the 7th grade level, I believe that these devices may be more of a nuisance and a distraction rather than aiding the students in the classroom. I believe that these students need to focus more on themselves and what they need to do when it comes to passing regents exams, where they will most of the time not be allowed to use.

I certainly agree with Christine G. when she mentioned that this article was a great article to learn about assistive technology that is accessible to students. I also agree with Sue when she mentioned that using adaptations,especially technological ones, have great deal of effectiveness in the classroom when instructing students with special needs. The reason why I agree with Sue is because I believe it motivates students to learn by keeping them alert and curious about learning.

If I were to purchase a device to use in my classroom, I would definitly purchase the Kurzweil 3000. The reason why I would purchase this is because it brings reading and writing together. This will enable me to show students the different language of mathematics, and how reading mathematics and writing mathematics relate to each other.

This was a very interesting article. I am definitly going to save it in my records as a special education resource. If I ever need to find devices for a special needs students, I would find it online at this site. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

The blog above is from Jennifer D'Albenzio ! Sorry!

Anonymous said...

I think the tools I would use most often in my classroom and in my lessons would probably be voice amplification or sound systems and e-portfolios. I would use voice amplification while reading and while students were reading, or perhaps use books on CD in order to better engage students. By the same token, I could use video clips of plays and movie-versions of books in order for students to see and hear the story. I would also utilize e-portfolios because I feel that this is a better form of assessment for all students rather than just relying on test grades. E-portfolios give students the ability to track their own progress, and they are a little easier to maintain for students since they do not have to physically carry around all of their materials.

This article was very helpful in that it listed all the devices that could be used for each different type of limitation. However, some of the descriptions were slightly less than helpful because they were very full of technical terms.

-Nicole B

Kimberla P. said...

This is an excellent website for teachers to use. Some students with IEPs may need assisted technologies to help them learn better. I think this website is a great resource for teachers to refer to in order to assist students. Building supervisors and administrators should review this site as well.

Kimberla P.

Anonymous said...

This website was extremely informative, as I was not aware of all the technology that is out there for our students with special needs. Questions: If a student needs a particular piece of equipment as per his or her IEP, does the school have to pay for it regardless of their budget? Also, if a student does not have an IEP and needs one of these services, are they entitled? How would they go about getting access to the device?

-Lauren D

-Lauren D.

Beach Blogger said...

This was a very informative article for teachers. With the increase of students with disabilities being mainstreamed into a general education classroom it is important for teachers to meet the needs of all their students. With the technology tools mentioned in this article, this will be possible for many teachers who are teaching a diverse population. The assisted technology mentioned in this article includes software and websites for stutednts in the classroom as well as homebound students. The tecnnology mentioned assist students with aural problems, reading and wrting challenges, Physical or cognitive challenges, students with autism, students who have communication difficulties, students who are physically impaired. It's good to know that their is so much assisted technology to use in the classroom. I plan to learn more about this type of technology in order to meet the needs of all my students. As an ESL teacher candidate I feel the reading and writing programs would benfit alot of ESL students who are not on the desired reading level.

Anonymous said...

This article is so great, and I say it this way because it so hard to describe what I felt while reading all these amazing facts. It feels so good to know that something is being done. Finally, students who struggle have a chance. They finally have the means to be at the same level as the other students in the classrooms, they finally have a chance at success. Technology is slowly but surely closing the gaps in education.
Danyi T.

Anonymous said...

I had to laugh a little to myself when I read in the article about how having speakers in the classroom not only aided the student with an auditory problem but also helped the other students as well with keeping their attention. One year I had a student who had an auditory impairment, his I.E.P. mandated that there was a speaker system installed in my classroom. That year that I had that technology, my students were markedly more engaged and on task. I hated the fact that when the year was up the speakers would be taken down. I think all classroom should have speakers installed.

Rob S.

Christine said...

I think all the technologies presented in this article are great! I especially liked how you can video conference with home bound students. This can help them feel a part of the classroom still. It's all the little accommodations that really make a difference. A lot of technologies presented will help all the students not just the ones with the disability.

I agree with Rob. I have been in classes where one child had an FM system but it really helped all the kids. The speaker made the teachers voice louder for everyone to hear, and the kids were super motivated to participate because the teacher would let them answer in the microphone. Everyone wanted to be able to talk to the microphone so this simple technology helped all!

Jenny C said...

Being a special educator, it was great to see that the number of special education students being included in general education settings have increased. It was also great to see all of the various technological tools available to the special education student. The variety of tools available for different disabilities really impressed me.
Last year, one of my students had difficulty writing legibly and fluently. He used a portable word processor, which allowed him to stay with the pace of the class. This was great to witness.

*Jenny

Colleen said...

What a great article! I truly had no idea there were so many tools out there to enhance the classroom, as Rob said, for not only the special needs students, but every student! My favorites were the reading and writing tools. I think all children should have access to tools that will help them write essays and read websites they may find interesting. You never want children to be discouraged when completing a daunting task such as writing their first essay, tools like this make it fun and less intimidating.

Anonymous said...

This article provided a various array of interesting adaptive technology that I had never heard of before. It's amazing how much technology can help in the classroom. One thing the article mentioned that I found impressive was how audio-rich environments can help students develop literacy skills. I would've never thought that to be the case, but now I see the connection. I was also impressed by the ease and convenience of the IntelliKeys and how it simply plugs into the computer as a USB. I'm surprised I haven't heard or seen any of these technologies in the classroom yet.

Tom L.

Michael Stern said...

This is a very interesting article. Assistive technology is very important and necessary for students with special needs. This article talks about many products that can help students in many different ways. The article explains to teachers how to use these great assisted technologies in many different ways. As a teacher it is important to know and understand how to use these assistive technologies and be able to show your students how to use them.

- Mike S.

Jessica W said...

This article was very interesting. I truly did not realize all the different options available for assisting students. It really is true that in an inclusive classroom technology really can be a great equalizer for students with disabilities. I thought it was interesting that studies have found that using audio systems for reading increases literacy. At the elementary level I think books on tape could be used for students to listen to while they follow along in a book - its a nice change from them listening to their teacher read. I also liked the idea of using word processors to help students with poor handwriting or even those with motor skill disabilities. In terms of working to meet the needs of a student's IEP I think ePortfolios would be a great way to track alternative assessments. I really like how the article broke down the different technologies by use and provided information and links.

Patrick said...

This article was a great source of information on how to encorporate assistive technology into the classroom. I especially liked the IntelliKeys USB, which is a keyboard that plugs into the computer that is much easier and simpler for disabled students to use. It allows them to do all the things other students can do on the computer, internet, etc. I also liked the JAWS software, which makes it easier for students to use programs like Word, Excel, etc. Assistive technology is best used when it helps the disabled student reach learning experiences that the general education student can reach.

Anonymous said...

The article provided a great overview of the technology available to students with special needs. One of the most important forms of adaptive software in my opinion are the communication devides. This technology allows all students to contriube to class lessons and activities. The iTalk2 and The Go Talk Pocket can assist students with asking and answering quesitons. Additionally I feel the Intellikeys USB could be helpful in any classroom. Many students not jsut those with disabilities struggle with fine motor skill abilities. A traditional computer keyboard can be challenging for little fingers.
-Bridget Sheerin

Anonymous said...

This article had a lot of resources special education and general education teachers could use in their instruction.
Using Assistive Technology in classroom instruction really helps children with disablilities to learn better and this article gave great examples to use.

-Deanna C.

melissa said...

This article has introduced a large variety of equipment available to teachers and students. Many of the assistive tools will make the learning process easier for many students. I would use Word Q because it would allow students to complete writing acitivities without support from the teacher because it would correct their mistakes. Intellitools would allow for students to improve in various areas such as writing, reading and math. It will help to reinforce the material learned in the classroom.

Anonymous said...

Adaptive and assistive technology is very helpful in inclusive classrooms. Many children with disabilities struggle because their needs are not met. I would like to use Read Outloud Program. This would help with students to revise and edit their work. It can also help for students who have trouble with reading. The DynaVox is an extremely effective tool for students that cannot speak or have speech impairments. A student in the class I work in uses a DynaVox and it enables her to communicate during lessons when she knows an answer and is unable to speak it. She can touch the screen and it will say her choice for her.

-Jeanine T.

Anonymous said...

It is great that there are so many technology choices out there today to help students and teachers. The technology is helpful to all students, regardless of their needs. I would personally like to have a lot of this technology available in my classroom. I especially like the looks of the Discover Pro and the Keystrokes 4 software. They look like they could help make the computer a bit easier and more accessible for students.

-Jeff K.

Anonymous said...

This article was filled with so many assistive technologies I have never heard of before. I now have a better understanding of how these technologies can have such a huge and positive impact on students with special needs. Some of my favorite technologies mentioned in the article were the social technologies as well as the reading technologies. I think that these areas effect a students' success in school more than other difficulties. Many times students with social and communication issues and students with reading disabilities have low self-worth or esteem which reflects in their school performance. I think many of these technologies make it possible for these students to regain the confidence they need in school to be successful learners!

-Kathy M.-

Anonymous said...

This article provides so many technologica resources to assist students with special needs. What's great is that the typical students can benefit just as much. I have worked with students who use a DYNAVOX systen to communicate and it really is amazing. these studetns are unable to speak, and it is so frustrating to see how much of a hard time they have. However, the DYNAVOX allows them to have a regular conversation with their peers and teachers.

John G

Anonymous said...

Wow! What a useful article for both special education and general education teachers. It is important for ALL teachers to be aware of the assistive technology available especially due to the increase of inclusion programs and students being placed in the least restrictive environment.
The article gives an overview of different types of assistive tehnology and possible uses for it. In my experiences I have used some of the technology such as Boardmaker which is a program i would highly recommend. I am hoping to have experiences with more assistive technology so i am familiar with it should i ever have a student that would benefit from it's use. Kristina B.

Anonymous said...

Some of these alterantives might be a bit pricey for some schools(ex. special keyboards). However, technology only stands to help teachers who need to reach diverse ranges of students. Computers can hlep with studetns who have writing, auditory, and reading problems. As usual the use of technology wont just help the students who need an alternative way to learn, it will also go a long way in helping studetns become more interested in everyday studies. Word programs, websites and games can all be effective ways to reach the entire spectrum of students.

-MIKE T.-

Anonymous said...

I definitely believe that I could integrate some of these tools into my classroom. One tool that I thought would be very creative would be the word predicition software. For students that are having trouble with reading and writing there are a couple of tools that I liked. The portable word processors combined with larger keys or virtual keyboard. I would integrate these items into my classroom because these are common tools that students already have. For example the word prediction software is available in their cell phones, t9 word. The iphone has the virtual keyboard such that when you hit a key the key becomes larger. I would definitely integrate these into my unit plan because we the graphing calculator may be able to be used at a medium for these programs.
-David B

Anonymous said...

I found the article to be very interesting. I think it’s important for teachers to know what technology is available for their students to be able to provide them with the best support. The article provides several different forms of technology that would be useful in a classroom depending in the need of each child. I personally like the software for reading and writing skills it provided.

-Saira U.

Anonymous said...

I found this article to be very informative. I agree with Saira when she said that it is important for teachers to be aware of their student's needs in the classroom. It is our job to make sure the kids are getting the best learning experience and if they are having trouble with something it is our job to fix it. I didn't know that there were so many assistive and adaptive technologies that exisited, but I am happy to know that they are available if need be.

Jaime R

Anonymous said...

One of the tools that I have seen myself is the DynaVox System. It is an excellent and remarkable tool for nonverbal students. The other assistive technology tools in the article are ones I have yet to see. It is amazing to see what technology has developed to support students with diverse abilities. I would use all of these tools to support children in expressing their wants, needs and feelings. These technologies can benefit any child and should be taken advantage of.

-Michelle A.

Anonymous said...

The assistive technologies mentioned in this article prove to be wonderful. They will provide our students with language, writing, speech, hearing, ect difficulties with assistance to see that they succeed in the least restrictive enviornment. Like Michelle said, I would use all of these tools to support children in expressing their wants, needs and feelings. All teachers should be aware of how they work and use them in their classrooms!
Theresa Klee

Anonymous said...

As the article states, "Learning to teach to a diverse population makes for better overall teachers," is such a powerful quote in becoming a teacher. I honestly believe this was a very useful article, I don't think that I had heard of most of these before reading this. I think they are all useful tools and they can not only help students with special needs they can also help general education students. These assistive technologies if availablein the school you are working in can make certain activities easier for sudents to accomplish. Very informative article.

Jaime S.

Anonymous said...

I REALLY ENJOYED READING THIS ARTICLE. IT IS A SPECIAL EDUCATORS DREAM ARTICLE. THE SMILE ON THE LITTLE GIRLS FACE WHO WAS USING THE OVERLAY MAKER 3 WAS PRICE LESS. WHAT A JOY KNOWING THAT ANY CHILD CAN BE SUCCESSFUL USING TECHNOLOGY AND HOW FAR TECHNOLOGY HAS COME FOR THE STUDENT WITH SPECIAL NEEDS. FOR A CLASSROOM I LIKE THE PORTABLE WORD PROCESSOR WHICH WOULD HELP ANY STUDENT WITH POOR HANDWRITING...HOW COOL TO HAVE ALL YOUR NOTES...NEAT! I ALSO LIKE THE IDEA OF VIDEO CONFERENCING FOR STUDENTS WHO MIGHT BE ILL OR INJURED AND OUT OF SCHOOL FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF TIME. IF MY DAUGHTER'S SCHOOL HAD THIS, I WOULDN'T HAVE SENT HER BACK TODAY LIMPING AND UNCOMFORTABLE FROM HER SURGERY. LET'S FACE IT WE DON'T WANT THEM TO MISS OUT ON SCHOOL TIME IF WE CAN HELP IT. I PRINTED THIS ARTICLE AND WILL REFER BACK TO IT WHEN I HAVE THE NEED TO. A GREAT RESOURCE.
LISA C.

Laura said...

I think the article is great for special education teachers. I like how there were links to websites for some of the products. I enjoyed reading about the Board Maker software. It creates symbol-based interactive activities and prints materials for education and communication. I think as a math teacher, this software would be very useful in a middle/high school classroom setting. I think these tools sound very appealing and I would like to see some of them being tried out in a classroom.

SuperNick said...

What I thought was good about this was the video conferencing. Anyone out of school for an extended period of time wont miss out on the work or fall behind. Word processing is also extremely valuable, just for personal reasons, after a while, my handwriting looks terrible, a word processor would take out the "what does this word/sentence/paragraph say?" problems of anyone with poor handwriting. Board Marker was simply amazing and I could see uses in many aspects of the children learning. The only problem I have is that with all the available technology I don't think any district I get a job in will have the budget for all the cool toys the teachers and students will want to play/learn with!

Anonymous said...

This article I feel is important for all teachers to read. Assistive technology can be used by all teachers, not only by special educators. There are different products to help different issues that students may be faced with. This article not only had about five or ten examples, but it had more depending on what the child may need. Many of these products could be very helpful to students inside the classroom.
A lot of these products I have never heard before and this is why I found the article to be interesting to my life. I always feel it is important to stay updated with the technology in the classroom and this article definitely helped. I thoroughly enjoyed this article and I will do more research in the future about these products to see which best suit my students.

- Jackie C

Anonymous said...

This article is very useful. There is a lot of information about how to incorporate technology to help students learn. I would definitely use a portable word processor for students who have very poor handwriting and/or have a physical impairment that prevents them from writing well. Another tool that I believe I can incorporate easily in to my lesson plans and unit plans are sound systems. This can benefit students who have hearing problems. There are so many other tools mentioned that would be very useful as well.

Lauren G.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this article. I think it was very useful for teachers and teacher candidates. It gave useful resources and websites to use. It explained how the population of students with disabilities is growing every year, and that teachers need to be prepared, and they can be prepared by using technology. I am actually very surprised at how much assistive technology there is for the classrooms. I look forward to using a lot of these things in the future.
Christina A.

Anonymous said...

I think this article gave several useful tools for the classroom when working with students with special needs. I liked the idea of the word processors to be used for students who have difficult-to-read handwriting. Often students get marked incorrectly because their handwriting is not legible. When students use a word processor they get evaluated on their content. This can be used for students of all academic and developmental levels.

D. Manz

Anonymous said...

This article was eye opening to the different technology available for the students of today. The great part of the article was that it not only presented the technologies, but also presented websites to use. As a current 9th & 10th grade math teacher I can say that many students do not write neat enough to be able to read their hand writings. I think that allowing the students the ability to utilize a word processor would eliviate some of the errors that are made. I agree with Christina that I am amazed at the amount of technologies available and I can not wait to have the ability to implement some of these technologies in my classroom.
~Bethany

Anonymous said...

I thought is was interesting to look at all of the different technology products that are available for students. In my classroom I have students that use Kurzweil 3000 and it is very helpful to them. I also have a student that uses a special enlarged keyboard and a screen enhancing program called Zoomtext. These have been a great tool for my student to use to help him on the computer. I also tutor a student that is non verbal and he uses Dynavox and it is his only way to communicate with people. Although I don't think it is the newest model, it helps me to understand him and teach him.
I really liked the idea at the end of the page about using itunes to record students and keep track of their improvements. I would consider doing that with my students in my classroom. I also think students would enjoy that because it allows them to see how they have improved in reading over a period of time.
Nicole F.
M/W

Meg Shannon said...

This article provides a wealth of information for teachers in special education and inclusive classrooms. Software and hardware solutions, such as those mentioned in the piece, will aid teachers in addressing each student's needs. With some 80 percent of children with disabilities spending time in a general classrom rising from 50 percent to 52 percent of the time, such tools will be welcomed for parents, teachers and children alike. I especially like the IntelliTools Classroom Suite to improve communication skills; the portable computers adapted for physically challenged students; and the tools that help teachers and administrators design an IEP.

Meg Shannon said...

A good follow-up to this article would be a collection of teacher responses as to how difficult or easy each product was to use; if it worked for the student and achieved goal; and if teachers required additional training to incorporate it into the classroom. I wonder if there is a chatboard for teachers that enable them to exchange ideas and tips on such new technologies and products.

Anonymous said...

I found this article very interesting and I love the fact that there are so many options to help kids all around. I was one of those students that had a hard time writing neat, I presently still have this problem but now that I am older I write a little clearer. The poor HANDWRITING word processor would have been awesome tool for me when I was a child. When I am at work I rather email any phone messages than to write it on the message pad. I also found interesting the Home bound tool where the students can have a videoconferencing. I find it beneficial how this tools is used to deliver instruction to their home computer. I feel that parents can benefit from this tool as well.

M.Abreu
T & TH

William said...

Not being a special education teacher myself i felt this article would be very helpful to teachers who do teach in the special education department. The software which is available to teachers is very useful and will make classes so much easier for students as well as take some stress off of the teachers. The programs are so easy to use and the students can take each program step by step and not worry about screwing something up because the programs are so adaptive to the students. The use of the microphone was also very important to the classroom because the students could understand more and pay attention to what is going on through the use of the microphone.

Anonymous said...

In response to Meg's Comment, I agree with you. A follow-up to this article would be great and to see the feedback on what they teachers say about all these new software and technology for the students with disabilities.

M.Abreu
T & Th

Ali said...

I think that this article is immensely worthwhile for teachers and pre-service teachers. Especially for inclusion teachers, this website would be such a great resource to incorporate the learning needs of all students. I think that for students with aural problems and all students, the sound systems would greatly aid their education as well as their literacy skills. I also think that the tip to include symbols to show expectations and guiding students with schedules is a great idea for students on the autism spectrum. All of the tips and examples were great advice to incorporate into the classroom to differentiate and meet the needs of all students and learners in the classroom.

Ali said...

I agree with what William said. I think that all of the technology supplements make the teacher and students have better learning experiences. The easy instructions and available help makes these strategies more available and useful for the teachers to incorporate into instruction. I think that all of these available options are such a valuable tool to help meet the learning styles of all students.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Marleny in that it is wonderful such technologies exist! I am especially interested in the technologies that assist students in communication/auditory disorders. I had numerous hearing problems as a child, and had this technology been available, I would have had a much easier time in school. In the event I ever have a student who needs assistive technology, it is excellent to know that there are several resources to utilize.
Katharine F.

Anonymous said...

The article is a useful resource; they give useful websites and assessments for students with disabilities. This I find to be very helpful considering I am going to become a spec ed teacher. As a new teacher not knowing what will work and won’t work for student with disabilities, this will give me a better understanding of how to assess children. Technology can benefit students especially with disabilities because it will get them engaged within the classroom. As technology grows students knowledge grows, I am excited to see the new technology that will be in motion by the time I am a teacher.

Kim F

Lauren said...

After reading the article, I believe that the services and devices available from assistive technologies will enhance my instruction and teaching abilities in inclusive classrooms. The proper use of assistive technologies in the classroom will encourage and motivate students to learn in a positive environment that builds confidence levels. They are now equipped with the proper tools to ensure they are in an optimal learning environment. The various examples of assistive technology in this article will help me to differentiate my lesson so that I will meet the various needs of the students in my classroom. I agree with Ali and believe that students, especially students with aural problems, will improve their literacy skills from using the sound systems. I also believe that students that have communication problems will benefit from using the communication devices to better convey their wants and needs. Using the information and content from this article will help me to become a better educator for my future students with learning disabilities.

Anonymous said...

It is truly amazing that we now have assistive technology to help those students who were never able to communicate.

I especially liked the equipment that allows a decision to be made between 2 choices. Reminds me of Captain Pike......funny how Gene Rodenberry was so ahead for his time!

Growing up, there just did not seem to be so many children with disabilities, or maybe I just did not notice? Perhaps more children were institutionalized, as we were not equipped as a society
that could deal with this issue.

As a mother of two children that required IEPs, I do know how frustrating it can be for the parents; as well as the educators, and the children. It is our job to never let a child think that he or she is stupid or dumb.

As much as the teachers were able to work with my children, I did find that pulling them out of the regular classroom situation was really not in their best interest.

The stigma of this can be devastating to any child. With the wonderful advancements today, it is refreshing to see that more students are being permitted to remain in the general education setting.

As each student progresses at a different pace, I think that the word processors would have been especially helpful for my children.

Having also known children that were mildly retarded, the handheld with pictures appears to be a very stong tool to assist them in their communications.

As I am learning more about the assistive technology available, I am excited at the prospect that these tools can make a difference for these children.

The end result is that a child is able to communicate. How sad it must be to have no one understand what you are trying to communicate. The available options for students that are deaf, blind, confined to a wheelchair with limited movement, or other disabalities can now be challenged with technology.

We are just beginning to discover how much these students reallly have to say!

Elizabeth G. EDU 521.03

Anonymous said...

This website is a great guide for special education and general education teachers alike. With more and more classrooms becoming inclusive, it is becoming more likely that even if you are not certified in special education you may find you have students in your class who have special needs. Being aware of websites like this is a great way to learn about new tools and resources that one may not have been previously aware of. The website is also broken down into categories, listing programs and descriptions so that if you had a child that you needed a specific program for, you wouldn't have to search the entire website trying to find it. Althought I have never used any of these products or seen them used, it is extremely important for teachers to know that these resources are out there. The Kurzweil 3000 looks like a great tool to use, not only because it incorporates reading and writing and is suitable for all levels but in my experiences students today need the extra assistance when trying to convert their thoughts and ideas to well constructed pieces of writing.


Allison P. EDU 521.03

Anonymous said...

This website provided me with a wide range of assistive devices which could help students with or without disabilities. I agree with the statements that these forms of devices could greatly enhance instructional teaching methods and strategies. It provides students with the opportunity to work without needing to worry or focus on their issue or disability. Like its name states it is an assistive device created to help students with disabilities achieve the same objective as others in the class.

Kristen Byrne
Tuesday Thursday

Anonymous said...

This article on assistive technology was very informative and educational to all who are currently teacher candidates. As more students with learning disabilities become members of inclusive classrooms, teachers must be knowledgeable and ready to use all of the available technology tools and programs available to effectively teach these types of students. The empowerment of assistive technology in a classroom can be beneficial to all diverse learners. I plan to learn and utilize as many assistive technologies as I can in order to successfully teach all of my students.

Sonia Montalvo
T/Th, 6p-9p

Anonymous said...

I agree with William that this article really is beneficial for teachers-to-be in the special education department, but I also think this is a great "suggestion" if you are a general ed teacher in an inclusion class. If you are working with collaborative team teaching, its good to understand what some of your students might need, or to help suggest what they might find helpful in your classroom.

-Will S. M/W 6-9pm

Anonymous said...

A very interesting article on the variety of assistive technology that is out there for use. As a special education teacher passionate about "leveling the playing field" for my students, I will certainly try to use the technologies suggested in the article. I like the Text to speech tool for ESL students as well.

Rachel K.

Anonymous said...

I had submitted my article and the topic was the use of SmartBoard technology specific to learning disabilities, and, more focused, on hearing impaired and deafness. The article demonstrated that one technology, such as this one, can truly enhance the learning experience of this one group of learning disabled. In looking at other disabilities, I have found that there are a plethora of other technologies that can assist many other students with disabilities. Cerebral palsy, Multiple Sclorosis, and other physical impairments can be addressed through a wide variety of disabilities and allow these students the opportunity to become part of an inclusive program within their school. Computer technology continues to evolve assisting school districts in finding new ways to meet the needs of all students.

In reading through the blog responses of many of you, there is a general agreement that technology can assist all of us in doing a better job at addressing student and parent needs. The one issue that I did not see throughout this is that no one mentioned school budgets, which in these economic tight markets, as we currently have in the United States at this time, makes the acquisition of new technologies more difficult into a school or into a school district. Planning, both short term and long term, are really required to insure that we will be able to purchase/lease/rent the types of technologies that we need to meet going forward requirements.

Ed Wachowicz
M-W EDU 521-04

Anonymous said...

This article is very helpful for educators as well as parents and studetns to benefit from. It provides information for students with any type of learning needs.
I agree with many of the commentes as to how these programs will and have taken off the stress on teachers. As a future special education and language teacher I find it useful to use these tools as part of my lessons because students can be more interested and less afraid to take a chance and make a mistake. Students can learn from hearing, pronouncing and reading with the help the teacher, and make it fun for them to learn.
I would use these tools and would love to learn how they function so that I can be the best of help to my students, and become a good educator myself.

Anonymous said...

This article is very helpful for educators as well as parents and studetns to benefit from. It provides information for students with any type of learning needs.
I agree with many of the commentes as to how these programs will and have taken off the stress on teachers. As a future special education and language teacher I find it useful to use these tools as part of my lessons because students can be more interested and less afraid to take a chance and make a mistake. Students can learn from hearing, pronouncing and reading with the help the teacher, and make it fun for them to learn.
I would use these tools and would love to learn how they function so that I can be the best of help to my students, and become a good educator myself.
Kristal C.

Mary Beth said...

I think that these tools are wonderful, as is the article for separating them into the various categories. Today, technology is overwhelming sometimes, and many times I would not even know where to begin when searching for various tech products for students with special needs.
In our classroom, I hope to bring the students up to the board (or SMARTBoard) to show their work to their classmates. However, I know that some students will be unable to do so, and having products like those listed here would be a wonderful asset to the classroom. Like Kristal said, it is a great relief to the teacher to have products like this that make every student a part of each and every lesson.

Anonymous said...

This article has put our societal view on disablities and technology into a new perspective for myself and most likely a number of educators. Even though there are some items in the peice that may not be classified as disabilities they are still barriers in the learning process. I was intruiged by the "Poor Handwriting" category particularly because I have encountered several students who happen to be very bright when it comes to their work, grades and problem solving. However, if they were assesed solely on their penmanship they would be written off as those who have "difficulties learning." Also the "Difficulty Communicating" tool had an impact on me as I read as well for the fact that I had two students join my class in the latter part of the year from Haiti due to the earthquake. The barrier of speech was an issue early on as they both had limited english vocabularies and they could not always clearly express their needs to me. This tool would greatly help, as well as the others, in any classroom or learning environment.
Danielle S.

Anonymous said...

I believe assistive technology should be used in any classroom where necessary. It is so hard for students with disabilities to adapt in a classroom to begin with and with the help of these technologies it could make it a little easier for them to learn and communicate better. I feel the purpose of any classroom is to have students understand the material and get a grasp of what is going on in the class and some students aren't able to do that because they are behind and struggling. This is a great article because it really allows teachers to see all the technologies that are available for their students.

- Natalie M.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Kristen when she said: This website provided me with a wide range of assistive devices which could help students with or without disabilities. I agree with the statements that these forms of devices could greatly enhance instructional teaching methods and strategies."
I found the website to be extremely informative and well laid out in its descriptions of various tools students can use to help them work through their difficulties. The portable word processors might be helpful for younger students, whereas the MAGic software, text-to-speech recognition, and the sound enhancers may be good for all ages!
- Amy E.

Anonymous said...

As Natalie said, and many have relayed similar thoughts, its can be so difficult for a differently abled child to navigate through the process of inclusion. I would greatly appreciate any kind of technology that levels the playing field and creates more understanding through the same lessons in the classroom, without having to differentiate for all of the different needs by separating students. The more understanding every student of every ability has, the happier the classroom and teacher alike.

Marina M.

Kelly said...

As a student of this program who is not getting certified in to teach Special Education, I found this article to be helpful because it explains some of the assistive and adaptive technologies that are available to students and that general education teachers may encounter in their classrooms. I think many times content area teachers can become so distracted by what they need to accomplish according to their own curriculum- meaning, the content they need to teach, that they can forget about the individual needs of the students in their classes. Many times this isn't even the teacher's fault. The teachers are under tremendous pressure to accomplish the goals of the curricula of their content area, but they also need to remember that they have students who are individuals with individual needs, strengths and weaknesses. Content area teachers who are not special education teachers might sometimes forget that they will be seeing some students with special needs in their general education classrooms. Teachers must familiarize themselves with technologies such as these and learn to adapt their lesson planning in order to utilize these technologies in their classrooms. It may be hard work at first but the results will be well worth it for the students and the teachers as well.

Mary Diehlmann said...

Like Danielle, I have bright students who do not have the fine motor capabilities to write clearly. Our school has a limited number of portable word processors, but students are reluctant to use them in math classes because of all the symbols used in writing for math. I would like to see these portable word processors used more often. Unfortunately, I have several students who don’t qualify for such tools who also need them.
I had three students this year who cannot speak clearly, but I don’t think their disabilities are severe enough to use communication devices. It’s very frustrating and even embarrassing at times because they are so hard to understand. I wish there was something available for students in this category that could help them without speaking for them.
Never having used assistive technology, it’s hard to predict exactly how some of these tools would be integrated. Each child is unique and therefore, each situation would require different solutions and different integration.

Anonymous said...

Incredibly rich article listing an abundance of assistive technologies, briefly describing them and indicating what areas they target. I could see using any or all of them in my future classroom. It all depends upon the students. Technology must be hand selected based on the needs of the student population otherwise it may not be effective. In general though, I could see using aural technology and symbol making technology in the classroom frequently.

Sarah S.

Terry said...

With many schools having inclusion classes and the increase in the amount of students with learning disabilities, technology is immenent in the classroom. Technology enables the student to fully participate, via communication boards, within the classroom. For students who lack any communication skills, it allows them to express themselves and have a voice. It is exciting to see the numerous products available for students with special needs.

Anonymous said...

This article provides excellent insight into and offers wonderful suggestions for adaptive and assistive technology tools. I believe that all the products mentioned are valuable and commendable; the more devices that are available, in my opinion, the better it is for students. Some of the products mentioned stand out to me as potential items I could use and integrate into lesson and unit plans.

For students on the autism spectrum, the use of symbols can be very beneficial for expression and scheduling purposes. I think both Boardmaker software and The Express ONE are powerful tools to help convey symbols to autistic students. I especially appreciate how The Express ONE can operate as a talking sign; I could use it as a verbal cue for students at the beginning of a lesson to remind them of anything they might need to do to get started.

For students with physical or cognitive typing challenges, alternative keyboards with larger keys or hands-free, virtual keyboards are desirable options. Students could use Dragon Naturally Speaking 10 to control functions like creating E-mails and searching the Web by voice when conducting research with the rest of the class. I think it’s terrific how The JAWS for Windows Screen Reading Software is compatible with Microsoft, Adobe, Corel, Internet Explorer 7 and many other applications; visually-impaired students can utilize this software while working on a variety of class projects that entail these applications. I also believe that IntelliKeys USB is excellent for 1) providing an alternative keyboard; and 2) being compatible with any USB port. Students could use this alternative keyboard while creating Microsoft Word documents, creating PowerPoint presentations, or perusing the Internet.

Encompassing a variety of language, hearing and speech issues, communication disorders require devices that help students express their ideas and needs. I love how the iTalk2 aids students in social situations, assisting in asking and answering questions and making comments; I would have students employ this device during lunch and recess periods. The Go Talk Pocket can be used in similar environments, as its multiple level message keys give students a variety of conversation topics. The Word Q, suggesting words to use and providing spoken feedback to students, could be appropriately utilized in a classroom as students contribute to class discussions. The Co:Writer would be a great device to assist students in story or essay composition, especially when learners have strong ideas and may be experiencing difficulty putting them into words. The Co:Writer offers a word-prediction program, producing grammatically correct and topic-specific sentences in conjunction with a word processing program. Overall, I feel that adaptive and assistive technology is a wonderful path for technological advancement to take, as it is a step toward the educational goal of equal opportunity learning.

-Jen Meliambro

Anonymous said...

This article provides excellent insight into and offers wonderful suggestions for adaptive and assistive technology tools. I believe that all the products mentioned are valuable and commendable; the more devices that are available, in my opinion, the better it is for students. Some of the products mentioned stand out to me as potential items I could use and integrate into lesson and unit plans.

For students on the autism spectrum, the use of symbols can be very beneficial for expression and scheduling purposes. I think both Boardmaker software and The Express ONE are powerful tools to help convey symbols to autistic students. I especially appreciate how The Express ONE can operate as a talking sign; I could use it as a verbal cue for students at the beginning of a lesson to remind them of anything they might need to do to get started.

For students with physical or cognitive typing challenges, alternative keyboards with larger keys or hands-free, virtual keyboards are desirable options. Students could use Dragon Naturally Speaking 10 to control functions like creating E-mails and searching the Web by voice when conducting research with the rest of the class. I think it’s terrific how The JAWS for Windows Screen Reading Software is compatible with Microsoft, Adobe, Corel, Internet Explorer 7 and many other applications; visually-impaired students can utilize this software while working on a variety of class projects that entail these applications. I also believe that IntelliKeys USB is excellent for 1) providing an alternative keyboard; and 2) being compatible with any USB port. Students could use this alternative keyboard while creating Microsoft Word documents, creating PowerPoint presentations, or perusing the Internet.

Encompassing a variety of language, hearing and speech issues, communication disorders require devices that help students express their ideas and needs. I love how the iTalk2 aids students in social situations, assisting in asking and answering questions and making comments; I would have students employ this device during lunch and recess periods. The Go Talk Pocket can be used in similar environments, as its multiple level message keys give students a variety of conversation topics. The Word Q, suggesting words to use and providing spoken feedback to students, could be appropriately utilized in a classroom as students contribute to class discussions. The Co:Writer would be a great device to assist students in story or essay composition, especially when learners have strong ideas and may be experiencing difficulty putting them into words. The Co:Writer offers a word-prediction program, producing grammatically correct and topic-specific sentences in conjunction with a word processing program. Overall, I feel that adaptive and assistive technology is a wonderful path for technological advancement to take, as it is a step toward the educational goal of equal opportunity learning.

-Jen Meliambro

Anonymous said...

This article provides excellent insight into and offers wonderful suggestions for adaptive and assistive technology tools. I believe that all the products mentioned are valuable and commendable; the more devices that are available, in my opinion, the better it is for students. Some of the products mentioned stand out to me as potential items I could use and integrate into lesson and unit plans.

For students on the autism spectrum, the use of symbols can be very beneficial for expression and scheduling purposes. I think both Boardmaker software and The Express ONE are powerful tools to help convey symbols to autistic students. I especially appreciate how The Express ONE can operate as a talking sign; I could use it as a verbal cue for students at the beginning of a lesson to remind them of anything they might need to do to get started.

For students with physical or cognitive typing challenges, alternative keyboards with larger keys or hands-free, virtual keyboards are desirable options. Students could use Dragon Naturally Speaking 10 to control functions like creating E-mails and searching the Web by voice when conducting research with the rest of the class. I think it’s terrific how The JAWS for Windows Screen Reading Software is compatible with Microsoft, Adobe, Corel, Internet Explorer 7 and many other applications; visually-impaired students can utilize this software while working on a variety of class projects that entail these applications. I also believe that IntelliKeys USB is excellent for 1) providing an alternative keyboard; and 2) being compatible with any USB port. Students could use this alternative keyboard while creating Microsoft Word documents, creating PowerPoint presentations, or perusing the Internet.

Encompassing a variety of language, hearing and speech issues, communication disorders require devices that help students express their ideas and needs. I love how the iTalk2 aids students in social situations, assisting in asking and answering questions and making comments; I would have students employ this device during lunch and recess periods. The Go Talk Pocket can be used in similar environments, as its multiple level message keys give students a variety of conversation topics. The Word Q, suggesting words to use and providing spoken feedback to students, could be appropriately utilized in a classroom as students contribute to class discussions. The Co:Writer would be a great device to assist students in story or essay composition, especially when learners have strong ideas and may be experiencing difficulty putting them into words. The Co:Writer offers a word-prediction program, producing grammatically correct and topic-specific sentences in conjunction with a word processing program. Overall, I feel that adaptive and assistive technology is a wonderful path for technological advancement to take, as it is a step toward the educational goal of equal opportunity learning.

-Jen Meliambro

Anonymous said...

First, apologies for the multiple posts. I’m not quite sure how that happened; I suppose it’s a reminder that technology is never flawless after all! On another non-related technological note, I think Sarah raises a terrific point regarding the relevance and appropriateness of technology. As always, technology for technology’s sake is not the end goal; rather, technology is only as beneficial as it is appropriate. There are many enticing devices available, and crucial to the application process is the proper evaluation of how the product meets the students’ needs.

-Jen Meliambro

Anonymous said...

This article was very useful to me. The devices i found exciting and useful for my hearing and speaking impaired students was "The Express One". I like this device because it allows students to press in a single message through the device, or click a picture on the device as well to relay a message to the teacher. Another device i can see using in the classroom is "The Overlay Maker 3" This device is also wonderful as it allows the student to access any thing being thought across the curriculum. Great for reviewing lessons. Love it!

Brenda Kassim

C. Keegan EDU 521 said...

Although I agree with some of the new forms of technology, like the keyboards with larger letters, I disagree with some of the resources. As an English teacher, it is so frustrating that students' handwriting is impossible to read sometimes. I don't think word processors should be relied upon, because students have to get in to the habit of improving their handwriting!

C. Keegan EDU 521 said...

I agree with Maria who stated that teachers can use this website to research what is available for their students and then get instructions on exactly how to use them. I also was impressed by this site and hope to use some of the suggestions. Technology can be beneficial but old fashioned skills like writing and actually reading from a book instead of online should not be forgotten!!

Anonymous said...

The article, “Special Needs Guide to Tech Products” provided me with a ton of useful information regarding assistive technologies. Some of the challenges that I face daily with middle schoolers with disabilities include handwriting/fine motor issues during writing activities, reading grade level content area materials, and monitoring the progress of IEP goals throughout the school year. Some of the assistive technologies that stood out to me that I would like to incorporate into my teaching are Word Q, Co-Writer, Dragon NaturallySpeaking and Intellikeys Products. Kurzweil is something that we already use with our students with disabilities, but I would still like to learn more about its use to make it more beneficial in my classroom. One of the ideas that I found most appealing to me was the use of e-portfolios to monitor IEP goal progress. With 5-7 kids in a resource room each with 10-12 unique goals, keeping track of achievements throughout the year can be extremely daunting. E-portfolios would make this process much more manageable and efficient, allowing me to share the portfolios during meetings and conferences.

Sarah Jane M.

Max said...

There is no doubt that technology provides many possibilities for assisting students with and without special needs. However, as Carina noted, we need to be careful to refrain from relying too heavily on assistive or adaptive technology. I can definitely relate to her example about handwriting, as I struggled with handwriting throughout my elementary school years. Although it would have been easier if my teachers had simply allowed me to type everything, I am grateful that they instead took the time to work with me on improving my penmanship. This is not to say that I am opposed to the use of assistive and adaptive technologies, but I believe it is important that they be used wisely.

I am particularly intrigued by the Kurzweil software, which is a program designed to help students in learning reading and writing skills. As a future language teacher, these skills will be of great importance in my classroom. For this reason, I hope to use programs such as this one to help in developing my students' literacy in the target language.

Anonymous said...

All of these programs and devices are great for special needs children. It is almost as though there is a piece of technology for every classification of special education. If these devices were made available to a teacher in a school district, it would actually make lesson planning easier. Most of these devices could be used during regular lessons, technology based or not. This means that the children with specific disabilities may be able to experience the class how many of the other students do. You simply need to write which device you are using and the reasoning behind its use in your lesson plans. For devices used often, the teacher could simply cut and paste the information into their next day/weeks lesson plans. It is unlikely that a teacher would have access to all of these devices but it is feasible that they could acquire a specific few that has been decided on by the teacher and the administrators. It allows you a way to run a lesson designed for the general education children without altering completely for a special needs child.

Brian Gladstone

Anonymous said...

I believe that technology is making a big difference in the lives of children everywhere. Today, technology extremely beneficial to students with special needs. However, I agree with what both Max and Carina said, that we can't rely too much on technology. As a future math teacher, it is still important for kids to learn the old fashioned way because otherwise, students would never understand how to figure out math problems without using all of this technology. I found that this article provided a lot of new information about new technologies and I liked some of the technology for text-to-speech recognition.

Ryann K.

Anonymous said...

The best analogy I have heard about special education students is that they are not unlike people who wear glasses. Being a bespectacled individual, I know that without my corrective lens I really wouldn't be able to function and this is not because of my intellect. The modifications that special education students have are akin to my wearing glasses.

The article which I researched for the assistive technology assignment looked at how some students respond far better to these types of lessons than more traditional ones. Additionally, educators can tailor their instructional plan to best suit an individuals needs with these aids fairly easily.

Dan M.

Bianca said...

There are so many great tool out there that children with special needs can really benefit from. In my undergrad I spent time observing at the Henry Viscardi school which is a school specifically designed for the physically disabled. I was so impressed with all the technology found in the classrooms. As different as these children may seem they were able to complete tasks just like any other child using adaptive technology. I thought the Alternative keyboards were especially beneficial to the children.

Many of the devices mentioned seemed interesting and I am so intrigued to use them in the future as a potential special education teacher.

Anonymous said...

The amount of technology that is now being used to help educate students is overwhelming. Technology can be very helpful for students if they are given the right technology that fits their individual needs. This guide is very useful and serves as a brief introduction to educators of the various types of technology available today. I myself have seen much of this technology in use at the school I currently work at. This technology helps students who would otherwise be at a great disadvantage.
-Thomas Mehldau

Anonymous said...

This is a very good website for teachers to use to find resources for students. Some students may need assisted technologies to assist them in succeeding in school. As a future special educator, it is necessary to have uodated technology. I especially love the wesites, such as Intelli tools and Kurzweil3000 will be useful in the classroom.
-Jennifer Sandoval

Anonymous said...

As someone who works closely with special needs students I found this subject very interesting. One of the overall goals of teaching is keeping the student engaged. These tools and technology as a whole need to be utilized to it's greatest potential in order for our students to keep up with the worldwide standards.

Kamaal Hamilton

love and harmony said...

The article had very good resources for providing tools, to help meets the needs for all students. The article would benefit both the general teacher and a special education teacher. The tools in the article that I would integrate into my unit is one the reading/writing tools to help students during the history of Ancient Egypt and during my lesson on hieroglyphics. I would also use the board maker software to add voice, sound, animation, and video for my students creating a poem, rap, and skit for the end of the unit. I also agree with Kamaal “these tools and technology as a whole need to utilized to its greatest potential in order for our students to keep with the worldwide standard.”

Kricel F.

Amanda M said...

I think this is a great resource; not only for special ed teachers but for any mainstream teacher as well. It is important to be aware of the useful tools that are available.The use of technology can really be a helpful guide to be able to meet the needs of ALL students. I agree with Thomas when he said that technology needs to be used in the correct way. I feel as if sometimes teachers are being pushed to utilize technology in the classroom becuase it is available, but its vital that it is being used in the correct way for the benefit of the students.

Once again, I did enjoy this article and I will save this website for future reference.

Anonymous said...

This article was helpful for me because I have children with special needs. However, many of the products help students with physical impairments. The ones I found useful were the Dragon Naturally Speaking 10 for speech recognition. This would be useful for some of my students. However, many of my students who have trouble writing are also language impaired, and it would be difficult for them to correctly use this product. I also felt IntelliTools Classroom suit 4 would be a great tool for my students would benefit from the word process. Lastly, eporfolios would be useful. At this point I only use folders and keep hard copy portfolios.
J. Dupas

Anonymous said...

I agree with Jessica that many of these tecchnologies could benefit all studens, not just those with disabilities. Many students struggle and even if they are not diagnosed, these may help them just enough and eventually they woun't need them anymore.

Anonymous said...

This article was very informative in that it listed many tools that can be used for special needs students and typical students who may need some additional help in their learning. I see how most of these tools can help the teacher get across to their entire class population effectively. Some of the aids that stood out to me was the REDCAT which, as I was stating before, can help all the students in the classroom hear what the teacher is saying during lessons, so there is a smaller chance for mis-communication. Another was the Express One which allows the teacher to create picture text recognition interpretations of information. Again, this article was very informative and I appreciated the list of tools.
-Cynthia Q-B.

Anonymous said...

I think that the incorporation of technology will be extremely helpful in helping those students with disabilities. Any way that we as teachers can aid these disabled students and make learning easier for them should be taken advantage of and used on a consistent basis.

Nicholas Hablenko

Anonymous said...

This was a great/resourceful article especially for special education teachers. Some students may need assisted technologies to assist them in succeeding in school. As I read the article I thought about how and which products would assist students in a foreign language classroom. Students should use technology that is practical and easy to use in the classroom and at home. I look forward to seeing what other technologies will be utilized in classrooms in the future.
stephanie sottile

Anonymous said...

I thought this article was one of those resources I like to keep handy for the day I have my own classroom. The products featured are important to know about, epecially in the field of special education. I would imagine with the increase of students with disabilities in the general education classroom and the increase of students with ASD I would want to be aware of (and hopefully utilize)many of these tools. I believe that I would want to use many of the language based tools for students with Autism and other communication issues. The iTalk2 seems to be a valuable tool because it can help students who have difficulty in social situations.
~Cindy A.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Cindy that this article is a great resource to have when I start teaching. Every year you get a different group of students who may need different types of technology to assist them. This list can be used as a reference each year to help decide which technologies will fit each student. There are so many options that I never even thought about available for students with disabilities. This article has opened my eyes to just how much a simple piece of technology can help.
Jamie F

Tom G said...

I found this article to be very helpful to all teachers not just special education teachers. Their are many things that may set a child back despite their learning level for example their handwriting. And a simple word processor can't help a student keep up with the class instead of writing out all their notes. I also agree with Cindy that the italk2 can be a very valueable instrument to many students that aren't as verbal in a classroom.
Tom G

Anonymous said...

In this article the author states that the percentage of students with disabilities that are spending 80 percent or more of the school day in general education classroom increased from 50 to 52 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Education. She also states that this may pose challenges at time in a busy classroom it also poses some positive aspects, in that learning to teach a diverse population makes better for overall teachers. To help level the academic gap between students the author recommends that the use of technology can be a great equalizer. The remainder of the article is committed on focusing on specific students and their disabilities and providing suggestions of how specific technological tools can help with these students’ challenges. The author touches upon students who have reading and writing challenges, poor handwriting, Autistic, communication disorders, physically impaired students and more.
One challenge that the author mentioned are students that struggle with reading and writing challenges, and to help these students she recommends a word prediction software and text-to-speech recognition software to help. An example of this software is Read&Write Gold, which includes Screenshot Reader, which lets students select text on screen to be read aloud, including text within inaccessible Flash, images, and Web sites. Another issue that she focused on was the challenge of poor handwriting which bright students could face academic trouble due to this one particular problem. To help this student a portable word processor can be provided to make a significant impact on the students’ academic experience.
Though these technological tools are great and I would definitely integrate them into my classroom environment, the only issue I have is acquiring such equipment. However, technology is still an amazing tool that can make a dramatically positive change in any classroom setting.

-Mary Beth Vlahos

Nataliefmj said...

I’ve had some experience with sound systems in that my daughter, diagnosed in second grade with a slight hearing loss in one ear and being in the same class as another student with a severe hearing loss, justified the expense of a sound system for the entire classroom. As an aside, the special education teacher explained to me that the sound system would help the whole class, so I had to smile and nod when the article mentioned growing evidence that sound systems “help capture the attention of all students.”
As for the other products mentioned, I was impressed with the variety and ingenuity, from word prediction and voice control programs to hands-free virtual keyboards and more. Some of the equipment was clearly geared for severely handicapped students. Although I don’t think those devices necessarily make communication easy, they do make it possible, and I imagine that in itself makes a huge difference in a student’s life.
I liked the idea of a program with applications to track the effectiveness of Response to Intervention. The idea of comprehensive courseware with pre- and post-tests, as well as the use of iTunes to track student reading, were interesting. I had my doubts, however, about the e-portfolio, perhaps because my only experience with it has been through graduate school with a system I found less than user-friendly. I imagine students with serious needs would require a system transparent and easy to use.

Anonymous said...

Nicole K.

This article was very helpful and provided a great amount of resources available to teachers in regards to technology that can be used to aid special needs students.

Integrating technology into the classroom is very important, and can be even more useful for special education teachers. And all teachers should be aware of the assistive technologies available.

The tools that I would use would most likely be the reading/writing tools such as The IntelliTools Classroom Suite 4 and Kurzweil 3000 due to the fact that many history lessons consists of reading and writing. These tools can aide the students in the area and help students keep up with their peers but also improve their reading and writing skills.

I would integrate these technologies into my classroom by incorporating them into my lesson plans, and making sure that I know how to use them as well in case any problems were to occur.

Anonymous said...

Having just started my degree in special education I am learning many new things. I never realized how much adaptive and assistive technology there is out there. Having worked in various BOCES schools, I knew of some, but this article really was very informative and broke it down and explained a great deal of them. I think that this article is very good for any teacher to have and keep as a reference. This article can be very helpful and something I will keep to use and look back on.
Jackie Az.

Anonymous said...

This is the perfect article for a beginning teacher to read. It clearly displays the various types of assistive technologies, as well as gives a brief description on when to use them. As a special education major I'm sure I will find myself coming back to this article so see other types of technologies that I can incorporate in my classroom. Reaching the needs of every student is extreamly important in order to become an effective teacher.

Matt M

Anonymous said...

I agree with Matt M. This article was very informative for all educators, especially those who are just beginning their teaching career. I think that all of the products advertised on this website are extremely beneficially for all students (especially those with learning disabilities). In my school we use Kurzeil 3000. It helps so many of our students that are having difficulties with writing. The program reads the sentence that the student wrote so they are able to hear what they typed. When the student realizes that the sentence does not sound grammatically correct, they are able to make changes until their text is properly written. I would like to see if we could buy more of these programs because I know it would help many of my other students in all of their classes. We recently recieved a new math program that has helped boost students interst and understanding of classroom topics. I really like this website and I will show it to my co-workers to see if there are any programs they would like to invest in.

-Kristine D.

Riain said...

This article hails technology as the equalizer between general ed students and special ed students. As I read the article I thought about how and which products would assist students in inclusive classrooms. I would personally like to have a lot of this technology available in my classroom. Students can learn from hearing, pronouncing and reading with the help of the teacher while making it fun to learn. Each child is unique and therefore, each situation would require different solutions and different integration. I agree with Kristine D. that all of the products advertised are beneficial for all students and not just students with disabilities.

Christina said...

This article was a great source of information with the special education teacher and a regular education teacher who may interact with special education students. It gave a lot of ways to teach all types of learners through technology, how to assess all students, and how to engage all students. I feel technology in the classroom touches on all types of learners and can aid in every child learning the way they deserve. I agree with Riain when he feels technology is a great resource in the classroom especially in the inclusion classroom setting. -Christina D.

Jena said...

I find it amazing how common some of these adaptive technologies are and how many people don't think to use them to help their students. With all the portable and high functioning technology today students of all abilities but most particularly students with special needs rely on this technology more than ever just for everyday functioning, to not think of using it to enhance their learning abilities and experience is crazy to me. I think that all special education offices and CSE meetings should have a list similar to the one in this article of all the adaptive technology instead of staying with the old forms of accomodations. I do understand that all that technology is expensive but then again when you think big picture wouldn't it be worse to loose funding from the federal government and state governmet because kids are not passing tests?

Anonymous said...

This website is an excellent tool for teachers to use when confronting "how to teach" a child with exceptionalities. There are so many tools a teacher can bring into the classroom to help a student on the spectrum, LD or ADHD. Using visual, kinestetic and auditory assistive-technology can benefit all learners. Inclusion classrooms are becoming more and more popular and a teacher needs to be aware of all assistive techn ology that can help her struggling students. If the teacher can keep up to date with going to this article/website she can make a difference to that child who needs specialized attention. There were many products on that website that I have used at my special needs program, one being the Dinovox. The child who used it was able to communicate and get across his needs and wants. I also did not know that so many assistive technology existed, I am very glad to have this as a resource.
Kaitlyn D

Jennifer Walsh said...

I never realized how many tools were available, I would love to have access to all of these tools and implement them as needed. I agree with Riain that these new technological advances serve as an equalizer between general ed students and special ed students. Each year our students will change, and their needs will be different. So one piece of technology used this year, may not be used next year. The one thing that I will do is record students reading to track their progress. During my observations, my mentor teacher had to make 3 journal entries per student, per month in all subject areas. Having an audio recording once a month can be helpful, especially when trying to explain to a parent where the child is struggling; the parent can listen to it for themselves. It also would be very rewarding for a student to hear themselves read the first month of school and the last; this way they can see how far they have come. I also like the communication devices, there are so many bilingual and ESL students, it would be very useful to have a device clarify what the students is trying to say, and what you are trying to teach.

Anonymous said...

This article is great for special education teachers as well as regular Ed teachers.It reminds us that all students learn differently.Visual, kinestetic and auditory assistive-technology can benefit the different learning styles. In a world where we know more and more about specific learning disabilities, through technology we can rise above and cater to our students needs.In the past when we knew less about learning disabilities, we probably helped students less but now we know more so therefore we can benefit the children of today so much more then we could years ago.I truly believe that the resources of today are more promising for the future. Lindsay S

Anonymous said...

I agree with Lindsay! As a Special Education major, it is extremely important to be compassionate for all of the different learning styles. This article could also be a useful resource, in order for special education teachers, and general education teachers to integrate technology into their classrooms each year.
Jamie L.

Interesting ESL By Ashley said...

I am currently working in a k,1,2, Life Skills classroom where there are 8 students with varying disabilities. We already utilize a few of the technologies mentioned in the article.

One student is non verbal and uses a Dynovox to express his wants and needs, and to respond to questions asked of him during lessons. On his Dynovox he has pages for each part of the day, such as morning meeting, learning groups, and lunch. We communicate with him by asking very basic questions such as, what do you want? And he will touch the picture of his desired object or food. During lessons, such as art, I would use his Dynovox to check for understanding, for example, if I give directions to the group, and tell them they will be gluing a piece of paper, I will look at the student and say, touch glue, and he will touch the appropriate picture on the Dynovox... then I know he understands what I am asking him. Boardmaker has been another useful tool for me in my classroom, for creating visual schedules, social stories, and picture cues. The visual schedules help to cut down on anxiety of anticipated tasks and provides students with consistency and clarity. There were many technologies mentioned in the article, however, that I didn't even know were available. I agree with Jessica M. that though they are extremely useful in teaching students with disabilities, many of the technologies sound very interesting and seem like they would be beneficial and provide motivation for any type of student.

L.A.B said...

The clarity, simplicity, and resourcefulness of this article was great. I appreciated the initial summary and variety of special needs that are common amongst the students in most classrooms today.

The best summary of the entire article is represented in the commonly quoted belief that “If a child can't learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.” This article does a great job of highlighting the laundry list of various technologies that are available today reveals the abundance of possibilities and potential that is available to educators today.

The piece that was of significant importance and relevence to me was the Aural Problems and Reading/Writing Challenges section, as well as the assessment tools at the end of the article. First, I am in the midst of a case study with a 4th grade student who has an IEP and is labeled "learning disabled". His strengths include math and anything analytical, but he struggles with reading and writing - specifically, decoding and fluency, at the root.

The Harris-Hall Educational Foundation study that is mentioned opens my eyes to the idea that audio-rich classrooms (outside of the teacher speaking) should not be limited to hearing impaired students - rather, a teacher might find significant improvement in a student's reading skills (decoding / fluency) by incorporating a larger variety of audio and modeling for all students.

I did, however, disagree with the line found under the Reading/Writing Challenges section that read, "but there are still many students who struggle to read at grade level." I find that as a country, the education world is extremely contradictory in its approach to learning. One day they push differentiation, learning styles, and the individuals strengths & abilities over a "one-size fits all" approach... but the next day they are stuck on assessing students by an artificial "grade level".

Lastly, as a teacher I plan to utilize the assessment tools available to me online. I strongly believe in the portfolios as a tool to not only measure progress and assess the total summation of a child's work, but also as a tool to motivate and encourage children to learn from their mistakes and assess their own progress and work towards intrinsic motivation.

L.A.B said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karen B. said...

Assistive Technology is very helpful in the classroom and it is required to be added to a students IEP if the technology would help that student in school. According to the article Assistive Technology has also been used in RTI evaluations. I also agree with Jessica that Technology is probably a big reason why we are able to help students with special needs in the general education classroom. I didn't realize how many devices are available. It was a great article that provides excellent resources.

Anonymous said...

Today there are more and more special needs students being put into general education classes. There is a lot of new software to assist special need students in the general education classroom. I feel that this is good for students to an extent but i feel there is a point where the software is so assistant that it is no longer helping the student but now doing for them. For example: for students that struggle with reading there is word prediction software, which is good. There is also text to speech which i think is bad because that doesn't really teach them anything, it does it for them. There is also portable word processors for kids who can't write. This is bad because it isn't going to teach them how to write it's just going to write for them.
-Mike S.

Nicole said...

This article is so informative (so is the website with tons of great articles). I think the most helpful and useful part of this article that I see myself using in the future is the explanation of special tools one can use to help students. It would be so wonderful if it were possible to obtain these in a classroom setting. The communication devices are also great that are listed, they reminded me of all of the apps that Apple has created that are available through iPhones, iPads, and other Apple products. These communication devices help students whom need them. The Dynovox is one that I have heard of before this article, which sounds like it works amazing for students. If all of this technology is out there, it makes me wonder why every educator does not utilize it.

Kent A. said...

What great things! It's like giving a voice to the voiceless. First off, the article was eye-opening as far as the sheer amount of available tech. The range that is covered is remarkable as well. Audio, visual, and mechanical aides are all present and there to help students not only learn, but communicate with their teachers and peers alike.

Anonymous said...

After reading this article, I found out more about technologies that can help children with special needs. I liked how the article broke down the technologies by a child's need. Many students require different types of assistive technologies to help them learn.
I did my practicum in a school for children with special needs and many of the students in my class were non-verbal. One of them used the DynaVox and I found it to be a great technology. It got him to express himself and communicate with others, helping him socially and academically.
This article was great in showing how positive technology can be and how it can help so many children.
-Elizabeth B.

Anonymous said...

The tools mentioned in the article can be extremely beneficial to students who with learning needs. One concept in the article that I believe is an integral part of an inclusive classroom is the use of symbols to demonstrate either the agenda or behavioral expectations. This can be done with board maker which also provides sounds, which is important for visual impaired students as well as students who are autistic. One tool that I have recently become familiar with is the dragon software. I have downloaded an App for this on my iPad. It has been useful because you can previously record your voice on it for students to listen to in order to follow directions. Lastly, I was just working with a student who depends on the Dynavox. This tool was extremely important for him to use because he was autistic an non-verbal. However, he was able to type any responses with help from a TA on the Dynavox. An important part for using the Dynavox in the classroom is to plan and think of responses the student might want to use. This way all the responses are programmed into the device ahead of times and the student has options of responses to pick from.

-Naomi R.

Anonymous said...

The "Special Needs Guide to Tech Products" offers a variety of technologies to overcome problems student face in learning. A main point from the article was differentiating instruction within the classroom to meet the different learning styles within the classroom. Some of the technologies helped students with poor handwriting, physical disabilities, autism, aspergers, and other disabilities.

The assisted technologies offer a new direction to approach issues students face in their studies. One issue I see with all the technologies is that it continues to add to school budgets in a time when funding is taking a hit.



-Thomas V

Anonymous said...

This article was very interestig and it covered an array of assisted technologies that can be used in todays classroom. With the number of students with disabilities in classrooms increasing, teachers need to recognize all of the available options that are now out in the market to assist these students. Having a program such as text-to-speech, can be extremely benifical to a child that has a hard time with reading and comprehension. The child can now listen as well as read the material, which has been proven to be a very benefical method for low-level reading students. I believe that many of these devices can make the life of a child who has a learning disability much more fulfiling in terms of academics. These devices can lead to less fustration with the student,parent and teacher.
M. Busch

Silke Jacobs said...

Even though I hope to use most of these assistive technologies at one point in my career, I believe the text-to-speech programs will be a prevalent resource in my curriculum. Because many ESL students face difficulties in reading, I will use text-to-speech technology as a scaffolding tool to help them adjust to the discrepancy between the written form of English and its pronunciation. Being an ELL myself, I have used to text-to-speech option on my Kindle to double check the pronunciation of certain words. It is a wonderful technology that will make the English language more accessible for many of my students!

Anonymous said...

It is very reassuring seeing all of these different technologies that are available to today's special need students. When I start teaching history, it will be important that I get my students to remember certain names, places and events. The text-to-speech recognition, or in this case something like the Read&Write program can make this much easier for both the students and myself. Being able to use word recognition to things such as pictures or web sites can make the experience easier and even more fun for the students.

Reed C.

Anonymous said...

This is a great article that I feel all young teachers should read. This article puts all tools to help your special needs student in the classroom in one article. As a social studies teacher there will be a lot of writing and being done and portable word processors would be a great tool for students who struggle with handwriting. Also I love the homebound student program because I feel students who have disorders such as ADD or any other attention disorders might have trouble remembering directions and being able to access them from home could be very helpful.

-Keith Galante

Dena said...

I found this article very interesting and am pleased to know that there are so many resources available to help students. Especially those students with special needs! In the school I currently work in, there is an ABA classroom that has about six students who are all on the Austism Spectrum. A few of them use the DynaVox and one of the students have the italk2. It is both helpful for the students and their teachers to be able to communicate with these devices. These technology tools allows the to learn and participate in the least restrictive environmnet.

Dena said...

I agree with Silke in that not only do special needs students benefit from assistive technology but ESL students would greatly benefit as well. Some of the text-to-speech software is ideal for English Language Learners as are the reading and writing tools like the IntelliTools and the Kurzwell 3000.

Dan M. said...

I have been an educator for three years and I must admit that I was unaware but pleasantly surprised at how much technology is available to a student with special needs within a classroom setting. I am glad to see that every need of each and every student is being met through the usage of assistive technologies. Such products as Text-to-speech and GoTalk were a couple tools that seemed phenomenal in the art of communicating information. I am very impressed with the abundance of available yet wallet friendly applications that can level the playing field for a child in need of assistance. I will and have already recommended this article to my colleagues.

Dan M. said...

I agree with Silke in that the text-to-speech tool is a widely used application that allows the user or viewer to correctly pronounce the word in question. Also through the presence of auditory pronunciation, the user will further solidify that word into his/her vocabulary. I think this will become quite prevalent in the education of ELL or ESL students as well as any other learner that is finding difficulty with reading or pronouncing vocabulary.

Andrew F said...

Andrew F.
Being the last in the class to enter his comments for this article gave me the opportunity to find out how eveyone felt about all of the available technology. I'm happy to see that everyone is so enthusiastic about what we as teachers have at our fingertips to be able to help our students.
I was surprised to read the statistic that 52% of students have some type of LD - which means we'll all have students with LD's and often we won't know it (at least not officially). Which means we'd better be prepared to be able to 1)recognize students with LD's and 2)be able to help them.
When I was in school advantages that are available today did not exist (except in peoples' imagination or on the Jettson's TV show - OK I'm showing my age - ask your parents about the show). My point is - the technology that once seemed to be decades away is here. I admit, reading about some of the technology was a real eye opener for me.Helping kids with handwriting problems - word processors. Kids with hearing problems - we can supply an audio rich environment. Word prediction software for kids with reading problems.Special keyboards for kids with physical problems. Even better technology for the homebound student (I had a classmate like this whose options were extremely limited). The article is right - this technology is the "equalizer".
The article listed quite a few specific products - all of which we should familiarize ourselves with - after all - we owe it to our students.

Anonymous said...

This is a great and informative article. A lot of time there is a problem or difficulty in the classroom that we are unsure of how to deal with it or if we even can. This article gives teachers lots of different solutions to lots of common classroom problems. Most of the time we may know that there are solutions to the problem but we are unsure of where to go for answers or if there even are any. With the growing number of inclusion classes teachers need to know the tools that are available to them for some of their special needs students. I agree with Theresa that all teachers need to know about these kind of assistive technologies and not just special educators.
James S.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I thought this was an excellent website that contained dozens of useful resources and ideas for lesson development and implementation. I think that Boardmaker Plus could be a great resources in the classroom in various academic areas. Special Education students will be able to participate in the lessons as well as engage with their peers. Agreeing with many other bloggers, I believe this website and its content can be used by all classroom teachers. Like James said, "a lot of time there is a problem or difficulty in the classroom that we are unsure of how to deal with it or if we even can. This article gives teachers lots of different solutions to lots of common classroom problems". I think it would be helpful for all current and future educators to keep this resource for future use.

Anonymous said...

This article was extremely resourceful especially in the field of special education. The article explained that there are many different types of softwares and hardwares that can be created for children with special needs. There are many useful materials that can help students with whatever disability they may have. Technology has made great strides in helping students with special needs, even students that are learning another language. There are several great products that can be used in the classroom to enhance learning among the special needs kids.
-Katie C.

Anonymous said...

The article was very informative about technologies that can be put forward in a classroom for many students having trouble learning and even for learning disabled children as well. There are many different technologies in the article but some of them seem quite complex for these students to be able to understand fully and work them properly. I feel sticking to the more simplistic ones is the best way to go and that just because they are more simplistic doesn't mean they won't work as well. Some of the ones I liked the best were : Word Processors, boardmaker, and intellitools classroom suite 4 for the evaluation process and all the extras it has. The intellitools suite 4 looks amazing for a special education room but for my classrooms I do not think it would be as pertinent.

Justin B.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Maria when she said "teachers could use as a resource each year to see what technologies could be integrated into their classroom and meet the needs of their students". I agree this is important in making sure that all students have the technologies which are needed to do well. I have personally used the Kurzweil 3000, it was useful for having exams read aloud while I was in college.

Anonymous said...

this was a great article summarzing different types of assistive technology that can be used in the classroom to enhance the skills of students with disabilities. I feel the most important of all these tools are the tools which help a student to communicate with others. This website could be very beneficial for teachers so that they can figure out what tools they may need in order to be help a student. Not only could this site be used for teacher of special education students, but also for regents level students. This website taught me alot about what is offered today as far as assitive technology goes and how many different options there are.
d. cavallo

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more with Katie C. and all the other bloggers who believe that this article was extremely resourceful. I find it to be particularly useful for someone like myself, who is not all that well-versed in the Special Education field.
Being able to teach all kinds of students with all kinds of disabilities is a characteristic of a successful teacher. What a shame it would be for any educator to miss out on these aides. And aides many of these softwares truly are... not just for the students themselves, but also for the teachers.
I will be sure to bookmark this article. This is one I REALLY will be keeping for future reference, and I'm sure I'm not alone.

Jackie D.

Erin M. said...

Technology and more technology. I agree with the author of this article that technology will be the great equalizer for students with special needs. It was really exciting to read that has been steady increase in placing students with special needs in general education classrooms. Special Ed is no longer the once stigmatized classroom down the hall. I did not know that most of the assistive devices existed. Classes like this really introduce future educators to a whole new world and way of teaching and learning. I have heard of a Dynavox System and my peers have mentioned that they are extremely helpful in assisting non-verbal Autistic students. Since the Dynavox System can be rather bulky many students are now using iPads to allow the student to communicate in the same way they would have on the Dynavox system in a much less expensive way. One tool that looked especially engaging was the iTalk2. These tools provide differentiated instruction as well as effective means for students with varying disabilities. It would be really neat to see these tools used effectively in a classroom.

Danielle A. said...

I agree with Erin M. that classes like this really introduce future educators to a whole new world and way of teaching and learning. There are so many technological communicative devices available that can assist students in the classroom. Because special education students are going to be in most classes that we teach, it is important for teachers to stay well informed and educated on the latest technological devices. Simple devices such as a keyboard that has larger keys or virtual keyboards that can be used hands-free, or videoconferencing to deliver instruction to students at home are such essential methods to be familiar with as special educators entering the field. This article was very informative and useful to describe the latest devices for special education students, especially ones that I can use currently in my kindergarten inclusion classroom.

Jenna H. said...

I agree with Erin and Danielle in the aspect that this technology class allows us to learn the future of education. Having these kinds of technologies allows those students with learning disabilities to become more involved and independent within the classroom. Because students are spending so much time in the classroom, even students with learning disabilities, so it's crucial to have the equipment such as a specific communication devices and computer access to those whom are physically impaired. Reading this article makes me realize not only how important technology is, but also makes me realize how important a class like this is. Having the knowledge and access to technology can really change ones view and learning abilities overall. I work with a student whom has learning disabilities and even though he has technology available to him something such as The StudentMate would be extremely helpful.

Tricia Luberto said...

I really found this article to be informative because there are so many assistive technology devices out there. It is so important for special educators to be familiar with these devices and how to utilize them in the classroom. I think it is great that we are being introduced to such devices now because it is inevitable the we will be exposed to them once we are in the field. Additionally, I think the mere fact that these devices even exist is incredible. Assistive technology is so beneficial and helpful to students with special needs and it is important that we know how to use them in order to help our students reach their fullest potential in the classroom.

kasey A said...

I am not a special education teacher and I found this site so interesting. I was very unaware of all of these devices. I think its amazing that people have found ways to help students with disabilities learn. It seems as though student with disabilities have had technology to help them excel longer then general education classroom have had technology. I think these are excellent devices and I would love to see them used with students.

Maria Hatsis said...

I am not a special education teacher as well but I learned a lot from this website. I think it's wonderful that technology is making education more leveled out. There is definitely more ideas out there now that we can enforce as teachers to help these students with special needs stay in the general ed class longer.

Kristin S. said...

I think this is a great article. I am a teaching assistant in a school for children with Autism and have been fortunate to see more than one of the products listed in use. Many of the students in my school use the Dynavox communication device. It is a great tool for the child to communicate with. I have also seen the To Go Talk Pocket, this is used if the students are going on a quick trip or outside of the classroom for a short period of time and has their basic wants and needs programed on it like the bathroom and items they earn to reinforce positive behavior. Boardmaker is also another great product. It gives you the opportunity to make any symbol possible in order to expand the communication of a child. This list opened me up to many other different products to help the children that I work with. Assistive technology is a great thing and its great to see that it can be used to meet the diverse needs of students with special needs.

Rose S. said...

Although I am not a certified special education teacher I feel it is so important for EVERY teacher to understand what types of assisted technology works for each disability. This article is a great guide to helping teachers pick which types of resources they can provide to their special education students as well as how to use them in their lessons and planning. As a secondary ed ELA teacher, the speech to text softwares are great for my students that have poor fine motor skills, writing disabilities, and speech disabilites. This type of software can be used to help students write essays, participate in discussions, and be confident to hand in assignments. I fully intend to use this article to keep me informed as I teach.

Matthew Milella said...

I really enjoyed reading this article because it depicts teh importance of technology in special education and inclusion classrooms. I feel technology is teh way of teh future, and for students, espeically students with special needs, this is the chance to help these special needs students grow. With teh many forms of assisstive technology now a day, special needs students have a chance to truly grow socially and academically in teh classroom. I feel it is up to the parents and educators to make sure these students get what they need.

Anonymous said...

I am not a special education teach, but I think it is great that special needs students are integrating more in general ed classrooms. I had no idea there were so many devices and tools for special needs students to use. I hope that more of these tools become accessible to more students. Brendan D

Tara B said...

Like Brendan D, I was not aware that there are so many different assistive technology tools. This is an insightful article that provides a variety of products that could be used in the classroom. I liked the suggested technology tools that could be useful for creating an IEP and how the article was categorized in general. Students with special needs should have the opportunity to work with the tools listed in their classrooms whether it be Kurzweil 3000 or an alternative keyboard, whatever will encourage learning.

Anonymous said...

This article is very useful for Special Education teachers and teachers in general! It gives a list and a simple explanation of assistive technologies that are available for students with special needs. I like how this article was broken down. It gave the categories and then a simple description about each one, very easy to read and to understand. I believe it’s important for educators to be aware, know what is out there and available. It is quite amazing to see some of the technology that is out there and to see how it works. Overall, technology is great and it is even better to see it helping students with special needs.
-Nicole S.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Nicole, this article is extremely useful for teachers, especially special education teachers. It thoroughly explains a list of assistive technologies available. This article is a great reference and I liked how the article was presented.

Erin C.

Anonymous said...

Like many of my classmates, I did not realize how many options there were for assistive technologies. I am not a special education teacher, but I believe every student deserves the same chance to succeed. This article was an eye opener because it shows how much I have to learn about such technologies. Assistive technology is a great way to encourage students, build up their confidence, and also maintain their interest in specific topics.

Laura K

Christine said...

I agree with basically everyone else that this website is a great resource for special education and general education teachers. It shows technologies that can be used in the classroom and how they can be used in the classroom with a variety of learners. I am a strong believer that not only should we adapt lessons for special needs students but for all students because call students learn differently.

K. Lapelosa said...

This was a great article, and very informative! Great source for teachers and non relating to assistive technologies. Very well organized and I can't wait to use some of these in my own classroom!

Anonymous said...

I have used Dynavox before. Dynavox has since been replaced with more versatile programs such as Proloquo which can be used on an ipad, iphone, ipod, or other tablet device. These programs have proved to be useful AAC devices for students with speech delays. Most of my non-verbal ASD students use Proloquo to communicate and it has dramatically helped them interact in the environment around them. I agree with Laura in that assistive technology can build student confidence and keep them engaged in the material they are learning. -Anthony D

Dena Z said...

After reading this article i found it amazing on how many different technologies there are for the Special education. I really like the idea of Dynavox. I think its a great device for a student in which has special need with speech. I feel by having the students use this can better their speech capabilities 10 times faster than a speech teacher ever would. By using such a technology it can also build the students confidence in learning and keep them engaged.

Anonymous said...

I thought this article was very resourceful for all teachers including special needs educators. The different types of technologies would be very useful to many special needs and disabled students. I think that some of the Autism software and devices could replace the use of picture PECS or be used along with them. This could be very helpful for students with difficulties communicating. The technologies in this article can all bring a better service to students and I hope that school districts will look further into integrating them into their classrooms.
Elaine P.

Anonymous said...

I am not a special education teacher, however I do believe in the inclusive classroom strategy. Combining students better prepares all of them for real life situations. I’m glad to see the data shows an increase in numbers of combined classrooms, and like Kasey A, I’m amazed at the contribution of technology towards achieving that goal. I agree in that technology has always been, as it should, used to help children with disabilities first. Based on my students needs, any and all applicable technologies will be used in my classroom.

Amir A.

Clare said...

I think this a great article for all teachers to read. It's important for teachers to know that while we are integrating technology we always have to integrate some form of adaptive technology for our special needs students. This article is great because not only does it explain the different types of challenges that our students may face but also solutions and tools that we can use to help our students learn and succeed.

Courtney T said...

All of the resources mentioned in this article would be useful and beneficial in the classroom for those students who require it. As the article mentions, the aural assistive technology not only benefits the student who needs it as well as the rest of the class. Assistive technology for those who have difficulty writing takes the stress off the student and the teacher. It also gives the student the ability to focus on the content of his/her work rather then focusing on writing neatly.

Anonymous said...

This was one of my favorite articles to read. As a student going for my special education degree I find it most useful to know that there are so many sources for us out there! The field of special education is rapidly growing and it is important for all teachers to know about these sources. I agree with both Anthony and Laura in that assistive technology can build student confidence and keep them engaged in the material they are learning. This is a great article!

Nicole D.

Ms. Alvarado's ESL Blog said...

I think it's amazing of how much technology has progressed. Especially, in the realm of actually helping students with disabilities succeed! With these technological advances, students with special needs will undoubtedly feel more empowered over their learning and become much more independent. Something to surely look forward to inside of the classroom!

Ms. Alvarado's ESL Blog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I am a teacher in a self-contained classroom and I found this article very helpful. Many times I am frustrated in my attempts to reach a special needs student. With the information that was given on so many adaptive technologies,I am sure, this article will help me with my future students. I had been frustrated with meeting the needs of a student in my classroom this year. He was Learning Disabled and reversed his letters. His writing was extremely labored. In this artical, I found a few adaptive tools that would have helped him. I brought these ideas to the Resource Room Teacher. Hopefully next school year the student will be less frustrated as he may be able to give his answers orally and they will be recorded for him. He currently has the text enlarged for him,but he does not have any adaptation in Computer Class. This article also mentioned a Kinderboard which would be helpful to him as well. I will definitely refer back to this article in the future._N. McAward

Anonymous said...

It is great to see how much technology there is for children with varying disabilities. Having a nephew who is severly autistic it has been great to see the progress he has made over the last few years almost entirely due to technology. He now can communicate and has a better quality of life. This should be what all school districts aspire to do with their special needs students. Patrick F.

Anonymous said...

As the years pass by, more and more assistive technology has been introduced and used in the classroom. Students should be able to use technology that is easy to use both inside the classroom and at how . I have never realized how much assistive technology is out there . This article blew me away! I agree with Nicole D., the field of special education is rapidly growing and it is important for all educators to be in the loop with the various types of assistive technology available.
-Michelle S.

Anonymous said...

I’m amazed after reading this article and reviewing some links. It is fascinating how the technology can be used to help people with special needs. There is a device that can be operated by viewing the screen, with the eyes and can express words and drawings, so people that can’t speak and/or move can express themselves with this device. I agree with Claire that it's important for teachers to know that while we are integrating technology we always have to integrate some form of adaptive technology for our special needs students, to help them reach the class goal. Granya V.

Leanne K. said...

I found this article to be extremely interesting and insightful. I could not believe how many forms of assistive technology are available for students today! I agree with Michelle S in that it is very important for teachers to be up-to-date with different forms of assistive technology because the world of special education is constantly changing. Every year more and more students with special needs are being placed in general education settings, so it is crucial that all educators research these forms of assistive technology that they may utilize in their classrooms. I was amazed by how many tools formed text-to-speech and how many resources have been created so that students who may have a disability will be able to utilize a computer in the same way that any other one of their classmates can. I also enjoyed the forms of technology that were somewhat assistive to teachers - such as the sound systems that could project one's voice for students who are hearing impaired, as well as using iTunes to record students' reading throughout the year. I really enjoyed this article and I definitely think that all educators should be informed of these methods of assistive technology that would benefit their students.
Leanne K.

Amanda S. said...

This was a great article that offered many different assistive technologies for students with disabilities. Since I am a special education teacher I can see the definite benefit of these technologies in the classroom. It is important to also recognize that these technologies could also help other students that may not be reading at grade level, but do not have an IEP. These resources will be a great way to allow all students to use technology in the classroom to help them become more successful.

Clorinda M said...

Not only am I in awe of the many programs available to teach every student with any and every disability, but I am also grateful that there are such devices availabe. This website is a fantastic resource of those programs and software that we can use. It's a win-win situation. Students learn and teachers are happy. Even the brightest student may have a little difficulty somewhere, these programs reach everyone. I'm taking this info with me into my classroom. I agree with Jen Meliambro who says that assistive technology is a crucial compoment of teaching students of every level.

Anonymous said...

Every year the number of special needs children increases. I am happy to see that there are many forms of technology available to teachers to help children with special needs learn within the classroom. This article was extremely informative. I didn’t know a lot of these tools of technology existed. I will definitely keep these tools in mind for the future. I would use various tools within my classroom such as Dragon Speak -for those students who have to write an essay and are unable to type it themselves. I would also use the sound systems- for students whom are hearing impaired and help project my voice while I am teaching. I agree with Claire, it is important for teachers to know many different forms of adaptive technology to help our special needs students succeed within the classroom. Leslie P.

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